It is safe to say that you may have heard of a little band called, R.E.M.  This vaguely familiar band was formed in 1980 and releases their fifteenth album this week.  While it is easy to primarily associate this band with the hits of the late 80s and 90s, many may not be aware that they lived a lifetime as Alternative music pioneers long before there was a “Man on the Moon.”

This band started out as many of your current indie rockers, a college rock band known for their live show and reluctant to achieve mainstream success.  However, it was difficult to put it off for long.  When their first single was released on a local independent record label with a limited initial pressing, the NY Times listed it as one of the 10 best singles of the year.  Along with “Radio Free Europe,” their first four albums were critical successes, but it was not until their fifth album, Document, that they achieved commercial success by finally reaching a million album sales.  Document sees the beginnings of a larger, pop-friendly sound and features a couple of the band’s more recognizable songs for children of the 80s, “The One I Love” and “It’s The End of the World…”

R.E.M. began their career with a sound that is characterized as jangly, new wave rock that signaled the transition from Post-Punk to Alternative.  Check out their first few albums and re-discover a band with more to it than “Everybody Hurts.”

If you like: Blur, The Decemberists, The National, Spoon, The Smiths, Sonic Youth
Check out
: R.E.M.’s early albums (start with Murmur, progress to Reckoning, graduate to Lifes Rich Pageant)
Feeling brave
: XTC, Superchunk, The Soft Pack, The Replacements

AI level: Beginner

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